One of the most basic and (relatively) inexpensive genres of games, hidden-object games ask the player to find, well, hidden objects in a given scenario. Generally this involves some level of problem-solving and combining objects to find the next clue.
There are myriad hidden-object games developed for Android, but we've picked out five that we think are worth checking out.
First up is Mystique, a hidden-object game that comes in three parts - only the first of which is free. It's a fairly standard experience for this genre, and places the player in a grotesque bathroom with blood, bandages, and an electric shaver. The controls are fairly intuitive, but often give the player a hard time when trying to grab an object. For a free game it's interesting and challenging enough, despite being a bit short. The game also provides a few surprise moments by way of triggered animations, like a bloody face appearing in the mirror after interacting with the electric shaver. This is a nice touch and adds a bit of depth to the game.
Once again starting the player off in a horror-inspired bathroom setting, Infernus ups the ante in the field of hidden-object based play. The main selling points for me were the graphics (not spectacular but detailed and thoughtful) and the controls, which were completely reliant on swiping across the screen and using pinch to zoom on an item or area. In my mind this is the way controls should always be for this type of game when implemented on touch-screen devices, as it is intuitive, easy to get the hang of, and makes more sensible use of the technology for which it was developed.
Infernus comes in two "verses," the first of which is free. Personally I would like to give the second a chance, but while the first verse is visually and functionally impressive, it is so incredibly short that it doesn't leave much hope for a long play experience for your money.
Amnesia is a game that offers a unique art style among other games of the genre, and a fairly well-developed premise as well, adding a bit more than "you woke up in X and have to escape because Y." The player wakes up in a strange office with amnesia (hence the name), with nothing but a blank clipboard that eventually fills in with the missing memories.
The puzzles in this game are actually quite tricky and require a bit of time to figure out, but the controls are a bit cumbersome and deduct from the overall gameplay. There is no moving around the room freely - one must click items from the perspective the game provides, making picking up the smaller objects quite a hassle. One other downside to this game is that it is not for tablets. It is playable, but will not expand to match a tablet's resolution.
Twisted Lands: Shadow Town
The developers of Twisted Lands spared no pain in creating artwork for this title, including many very detailed scenes as well as a visually stimulating menu and inventory system. The game starts off slow, adapting you to the controls and handling, and escalates the story (rather predictably) to a horror scenario.
It's a beautiful game and the graphics and animations easily kept my interest. The original version of Twisted Lands comes in at a reasonable $1.99, but there is also a lite version available.
The Secret of Grisly Manor
Finally we come to The Secret of Grisly Manor, another hidden-object game that packs stellar graphics for the genre. Grisly Manor is beautiful to look at, and intuitive to play, but garners a lot of complaints because it is quite short.
Despite its length, Grisly Manor is worth checking out for the reasonably difficult puzzles and great graphics. Similar to other games of the genre, Grisly Manor comes in at $1.99 which may or may not be a reasonable price for a puzzle game that lacks in length.
As you can see there is no shortage of hidden-object games to satisfy the detective in you. The five titles outlined above should provide some good options for those looking to get into the genre with their Android device, and the Android Market is brimming with other options, each with their own clickable mysteries waiting to be uncovered.